Archives for December, 2011

The cost of the Iraq war

J. Freedom du Lac reports in the Washington Post that Army Spec. David Emanuel Hickman, killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad on November 14th, was the 4,474th US servicemember to be killed in Iraq. With all the US troops now gone from Iraq, Hickman’s death may well be the last servicemember fatality directly attributed…

by Elizabeth Grossman As Congress nears recess, legislative approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is still a possibility. Congressional Republicans and the American Petroleum Institute have said the Keystone XL pipeline could create 20,000 new jobs, as has the Teamsters union. House Speaker John Boehner has said “tens of thousands” of jobs would be created.…

Congressional Appropriators ignore what Upper Big Branch miners showed us about black lung disease

[Updated 1/4/12 below] The Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. pointed me yesterday to the latest attack on working people. House and Senate negotiators have apparently come to an agreement on an FY 2012 spending bill (165-page PDF) which includes funding for the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Tacked onto the bill are…

20 miners escape violent rockburst at Idaho silver mine, April and November incidents killed two workers

Just before 8:00 pm local time, a powerful burst of rock exploded in an area where at least 20 miners were working in the Lucky Friday mine. All the miners escaped to safety but several remain hospitalized. This silver mine in the Coeur d’Alene region has been the site of numerous serious incidents this year,…

Following up on last year’s nine-minute animated video explaining the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Kaiser Family Foundation has produced a new interactive feature that gives examples of how different individuals’ situations will change (or not) in 2014 when the law is fully implemented. Click on character – 23-year-old uninsured graphic designer Phil…

Asbestos victims demand North American ban on use and export of asbestos

[Update 12/15/11 below] It’s been 3 1/2 years since Leah Nielsen lost her father from mesothelioma. “I took care of my father as he died an excruciating death. He died too young.” This Utah resident wants to protect others from suffering the same kind of horrible death by banning the use and export of asbestos.…

My colleague Susan F. Wood had an excellent op-ed in the Washington Post over the weekend about the Obama administration’s overruling of the scientifically grounded FDA decision to approve emergency contraceptive Plan B for over-the-counter sale without age restrictions. She begins by going back in time to a much more promising moment: President Obama’s signing…

By Kim Krisberg Public health vs. tobacco. It’s a David and Goliath kind of story. The kind in which the good guys win and everyone sleeps a little sounder knowing that the bigger, richer guys don’t hold all the power. Of course, the story isn’t so cut and dry. While public health has been slowly…

Dangerous workplaces are BAD for business, grain elevator closed following worker deaths

The next time you hear someone claim that worker safety regulations and OSHA hurt job growth and hinder small businesses, remind them about Haasbach, LLC. On July 28, 2010, two workers (Wyatt Whitebread, 14, and Alex Pacas, 19) were killed at a grain handling facility owned by Haasbach, when the young workers were engulfed in…

During the George W. Bush Administration, one of the prime examples of politics trumping science was the FDA’s refusal to approve the emergency contraceptive Plan B (levonorgestrel) for over-the-counter sale without age restrictions. Now, during the Barack Obama Administration, history seems to be repeating itself.